Yesterday one of my sons came to me about an argument (religious) two friends had got into. He was furious at both of them, because both were “arguing” in the terms and from within their rather deep belief systems, and getting increasingly mad at how “stupid” the other was, when there was no intelligence involved on either side. Or rather, whatever reasoning there was was coming out in terms that the other side either could not decode or would interpret as fighting words. (My son mostly just wanted to vent so he did that, and then he was fine.)
I have banned a total of about 8 people (if you count ten or so of them as being one very notorious troll) from this blog. A couple I banned were for religious nonsense, and one was of my religion. But when you come in quoting the Bible as though it “proves” something about a current political situation, you’re not arguing in terms people can discuss. You’re shutting down the discussion with something you think is irrefutable, because it goes beyond logic. This might be very convincing in a group of like believers (not always. Doesn’t convince me.) BUT in an open group, where people of all religions and none gather, this is just annoying and the equivalent of shouting insults, or reciting meaningless mantras. UNDERSTAND this is not saying “oh, the situation reminds me of this” as we’ve all quoted the Bible, Kipling, or even songs or movies in that manner. I mean giving a quote from the Bible and saying “And this ends the discussion” because if everyone believed in the quote and interpreted it as the quoter it would, only people of course don’t. So such a tactic just drives other people insane and ends meaningful discussion.
What brings this up is not religion, per se, except in the sense that some political movements seem to have acquired religious overtones.
I have long ago realized that when the left says “check your privilege” they are doing exactly the same as people quoting the Bible in a discussion-ending way. They are saying something that from within the deep halls of their religious belief is meaningful and discussion-ending. But to the rest of us, it’s mumbo-jumbo and annoyingashell.
Look, I have a liberal arts degree, and I learned in a country that was at the time (probably still is) nuts for Marx. I understand what they were taught about institutional racism, privilege and all that. I just happen to think they’re wrong, because individuals are individuals and should be treated as such, not as broad classes. I refuse to believe Obama’s daughters have fewer opportunities than my sons because they’re female and a little darker.
So to me when a Marxist screams “check your privilege” what I really hear is “I’m a brain washed idiot.”
This is worse if it comes in the middle of a comment or rant that makes sense otherwise, say something about the culture of recent immigrants can hold their kids back. I’ll be reading along going “Okay, I see you’re coming from the left, but there’s common groun–” and then we hit the “magic words” and my brain goes into instant “these are my middle fingers.”
Recently we’ve started getting the same from the soi-disant right. It’s an “European right” that treats races and classes as groups, not as aggregations of individuals with wild variation. Look, they’re mostly young, and mostly rather stupid. I’m not saying some of them aren’t individually smart, because some of the ways they’re stupid are ways in which only smart people can be that dumb. Like believing the melanin content of the skin correlates with IQ, or that culture is hereditary.
Mostly they’re kids who realize that they’ve been lied to all their lives, and think that by turning the lies completely around they’ll find the truth. The world is never that simple.
The problem though, is that their lingo has acquired the same properties as the left. It has spread to older people who should know better, and who use it because they can and because they think it’s a thumb in the eye of political correctness. But what it actually does is argue from “deep cult” and shut down discussion for anyone not already along for the ride.
I was reminded of this, recently, while reading a comment to one of my posts at Instapundit. I don’t often do it, because lately there’s been a lot of crazy. But the comments were interesting, and this particular one was very good (and no, I can’t remember about what) and made perfect sense/explained things beyond where my post was. All except the last line who referred to the Halfrican Queen.
It took me a moment to realize from context it was talking about Valerie Jarret. But beyond making the comment more opaque and signaling a brain-shutting cultish type of thinking, it did more than that.
It introduced completely irrelevant emotional distractions. Halfrican, and all the other stupid epithets of that ilk is not an argument. If it were an argument, you’d have to explain why the fact that Valerie Jarret is half African (is she even? I thought she was mostly Arab) has anything to do with the fact that she works for the Muslim brotherhood or is a red diaper baby. I mean, sure, there’s some covalence there, but that’s cultural, and part of her being indoctrinated to believe she was hard-done-by due to her skin color. But there are many people who fill the same role without the genetic heritage. Obama’s lily-white mother was a red diaper baby and so are half of the lily white, upper class darlings of science fiction.
The term, besides not sounding nearly as clever as it does inside the cult IS anti-pc, but it is anti-pc in a way that not only brings irrelevant arguments to the discussion but that like “check your privilege” proclaims “I come from so deep within an echo chamber that I consider this a clinching argument.”
I’ve gotten to the point that my middle fingers come up automatically when I hear one of these words. Cuck, for instance, means “I don’t understand parliamentary procedure or governmental structure in the US and I want to impress it with how angry I am.” Halfrican means “I have no clue how human intelligence/DNA/culture works, but I want to be superior to someone.” The rest of the vile lot means a bunch of other things such as “I believe in an international Zionist conspiracy, just like Marxists and Palestinians, because I think those two are beacons of sanity.” Or “I believe in magic dirt, because if you’re born on the land for x generations you’ll have the right culture/beliefs, even if the schools and society are no longer teaching them. And I’ll ridicule others for believing in “magic dirt” when people do their best to BECOME part of the nation.”
In fact, all of these terms aren’t cute, aren’t funny. They’re creepy eructations that mean “I joined a cult.”
They have the added “benefit” of making people who don’t fully agree with you and don’t come from the deep cult shut down on you. And of making people on the other side FURTHER believe they were justified, are victims and should hold on hammer and tongues to their victimhood instead of actually listening to what they’ve been doing wrong.
In fact, these thought-stopping and substitute for thought words do the very opposite of shattering the PC bubble and making people think.
We have to fight with words, or surely we’ll fight with actions. But fighting with words that stop thought and discussion will only make things worse.
And yes, I know, because I’ve seen this in posts by Stephen Green or other of my friends, some *sshole will come along and say because I don’t like these cutesy words that mean nothing I’m a “closet democrat” or a “communist.” Being called a communist is one of my new and favorite pastimes, considering I’ve broken more communist heads than anyone not a veteran of the armed forces and that even before I had a political philosophy I knew I was anti-communist.
But before you do that, explain to me how using stupid made up words makes your point that communism is bad, or that the democrats are Marxists. Make it cogent. Show your work.
Because all I’m seeing are people coming from deep-cult and thinking that the short cuts around thought that they’ve gotten used to will work on everyone.
And that’s tragically wrong.